Esteban Ocon, Manor, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

Alonso sees no need to fill empty grid slots

2017 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso says Formula One’s reduced 20-car field is sufficient despite the loss of two more cars over the winter.

The loss of Manor during the off-season means the F1 grid has shrunk from 24 cars to 20 in three years. Up to 26 cars are permitted to start a race by the rules but Alonso sees no need to bring more teams in.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2017
Australian Grand Prix build-up in pictures
“I think it’s enough,” he said when asked if 20 cars was enough to satisfy F1 spectators.

“Obviously it’s nice to have many cars on the track and many teams in Formula One.”

“But at the same point it’s a sport that is quite difficult to get in, quite difficult to stay for many years. We see with some of the smaller teams they are struggling to keep the financial situation healthy in the years.”

“If you have a good ten teams and 20 cars on track it’s more or less the number we see in Formula One for many years.”

Ross Brawn, who has taken responsibility for shaping Formula One’s future rules following its takeover by Liberty Media, has indicated he would like to see “13 strong teams” in the sport. Formula One hasn’t had a full grid of cars for more than two decades.

The collapse of Manor during the off-season followed the disappearance of Caterham at the end of 2014 and HRT two years before that. Last year Sauber ran into financial problems but eventually attracted new investment from Longbow Finance.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 16 comments on “Alonso sees no need to fill empty grid slots”

    1. If there are ten teams on the grid this year, whoever is last in the Constructor’s table is assured of tenth place money; is that correct? No team will end the year with nothing – which is a good thing – but maybe that’s a reason that Alonso is not so bothered about empty grid slots behind him.
      Not that I would dare to compare the two, but last night I watched an old Formula Ford race on You Tube and there were over thirty cars on the grid, and it was marvellous. From a spectators point of view, more is definitely better.

      1. I’m not sure if 30 cars will really add that much value. It just seems that the front runners will have more of a battle clearing backmarkers.

        1. Disagree. These people are racing drivers and they will scrap even over twentieth place. The more cars on track, the more chance we have of seeing some racing.

        2. I love watching the backmarkers fight – even if they don’t get much TV time. I love reading about the backmarker teams and I love routing for these underdogs. Those drivers/teams fighting for podiums at the front of the pack are only part of the narrative of a race.

          1. Same here,nd the midfield battle is also attractive

      2. Well said. Alonso knows he’ll probably be in last place and would like some money. I hope his dream comes true.

    2. I think it’s a very short-sighted view from Fernando there.

      Is he forgetting what team gave him his break in F1?

      I’m sure there would have been a few big shots at the time saying exactly the same thing as Fernando, “we don’t need those small teams”…

      Short memories.

      1. He probably couldnt care either way. He was asked a question. Did you read the interview ?

        What about this: “Obviously it’s nice to have many cars on the track and many teams in Formula One.”

        How is that short-sighted or forgetting anything?

      2. Minardi was integrated in Toro Rosso, it’s another identity but the team is still the same in Faenza, Italy.

    3. The payment system has got worse since Alonso got his break. There will always be small teams

    4. Of course he doesn’t want those grid slots filled. More teams means more teams finishing ahead of McLaren.

      1. Last year’s debutant (Haas) almost finished in front of Mclaren. The last thing Alonso wants is another back marking. team to give him a harder time getting in to Q2

    5. 26 Cars please. How it should be.

    6. UNEEDAFINN2WIN
      23rd March 2017, 11:45

      Have to disagree with Ronin here, 26 (I didn’t realise it was restricted) cars is much better. That gives us more action, more drivers get on the grid to gain experience, more is more in this case.

      Won’t happen with the current economics but here’s hoping

    7. yepp i agree 26 competetive cars is what mr brawn will be aiming for i`m sure (i hope). more cars more action and more
      sound.

    8. 6 cars more = more drivers = di resta, buemi, di grassi, gasly, nasr, vergne (OK maybe three of them and three with big money). I think there are drivers that deserves a shot and probably will never get it with just 20 slots. Yet already f1 never gave a possibility to drivers like Frijns, Leimer or Valsecchi and in the past to Kristensen, Brack, De Ferran, Lopez, Jorg Muller, Collard…

    Comments are closed.